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How to Choose the Best Interior Design Degree Program near Cave Creek Arizona

Cave Creek Arizona interior designed living roomNow that you have decided to enroll in an interior design college near Cave Creek AZ, it's time to begin the process of selecting a school. Even if you have always had a gift for designing residential or commercial spaces, it's imperative that you receive the right training to put your skills to work. And since a number of states do mandate that interior designers be licensed, depending on your state of residence you may need training to pass a licensing examination as well. So it's crucial that you do the appropriate research so that you can analyze and compare each college that you are looking at before you make your final choice. But where do you begin? A number of future students will launch their research by searching for interior design courses near their home and then comparing tuition expenses. While location and cost are relevant variables when making a decision, they are by no means the sole ones. Qualifiers such as reputation and accreditation should be taken into consideration as well. We will cover those issues and other crucial questions that you must ask the interior design schools you are interested in later in this article. But before we do, let's cover a little bit more about what interior design is and what degree and training choices are offered.

Interior Design vs Interior Decoration

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Often people mistake interior decoration for interior design and vice versa. The key distinction between the two is the level of training required. Any person can do business as an interior decorator if they have a general knowledge of or a skill for decorating interior areas. On the other hand, doing business as an interior designer necessitates a formal education and in many states one must have an accredited Associate or Bachelor's Degree and be licensed. Interior designers are taught to make work or living spaces functional as well as attractive. On some occasions they may team up with building engineers and architects. There are 2 broad categories that an interior designer in Cave Creek AZ may specialize in:

  • Residential Designing. Interior Designers typically work on new construction and existing homes. They can design essentially any room of the home, including bedrooms, basements and closets. Or they may specialize in designing one particular room, such as kitchens or bathrooms.
  • Commercial Design. When working on commercial or public spaces, designers normally focus predominantly on either functionality or aesthetic appeal but pay attention to both. As an example, business meeting rooms and reception areas are areas where aesthetics may be emphasized over function. Designs for hospitals and banks may concentrate more on functionality over appearance as the primary concern.

There are various areas of residential and commercial interior design that a designer must learn, such as color schemes, lighting, acoustics and furniture. They need to be able to use graphic design and read blue prints in order to create their visions. From picking wall paper and carpeting to incorporating Feng shui concepts, Cave Creek AZ interior designers implement a wide range of skills that help bring about their final creations.

Interior Designer Degree Options

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There are 4 degree options offered in interior design to get the training required to start your new career in Cave Creek AZ. Your decision will no doubt be driven by your career goals in addition to the time and money that you have to invest in your education. But no matter which degree program you opt to enroll in, make sure to pick one that is accredited. Accreditation is needed in order to take the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) exam mandated in several states. More will be addressed on additional accreditation benefits later. Below are brief explanations of the interior design degrees that are offered.

  • Associate Degree. Associate degrees in interior design supply the minimum level of training required to enter the profession. They take approximately two years to finish and programs are offered at a number of Arizona community colleges and vocational schools. Graduates can typically obtain entry level positions as design assistants.
  • Bachelor's Degree. Bachelor's degrees are four year programs that deliver more in depth training than the Associate Degree. They cover the technical and creative aspects of the business required to become a designer. They are the minimum degree needed by a graduating student in order to secure an entry level job as an interior designer.
  • Master's Degree. These 2 year programs supply advanced training in design after acquiring the Bachelor's Degree. Master's Degrees provide alternatives in specialty majors in general areas such as business offices or residential bathrooms. A number of students enroll to advance their skills to be more competitive in the job market.
  • Doctorate Degree. Doctorate degrees are mostly for those professionals who want to teach interior design at a university or college level. The programs vary in length but are usually completed in three to five years.

To work professionally and adopt the title of "Interior Designer", many states require that graduates of accredited colleges become licensed. In several instances, two or more years of professional experience may be needed before a candidate can sit for the licensing examination.

Interior Design Online Programs

For individuals who wish to attend classes in the convenience of their Cave Creek AZ homes, there are accredited online interior design colleges. Attending classes online can be a good alternative for those students that are employed or have hectic schedules that make going to classes on campus challenging. Classes can instead be accessed on a laptop or a personal computer when convenient for the student. For many students online programs may be the sole alternative if no interior design schools are within commuting distance. And as an additional benefit, the tuition may be cheaper than for more traditional options. Additional costs for such things as commuting or study materials may be minimized or eliminated also. Just be sure that the school you enroll in is accredited by a highly regarded accrediting organization, such as the Council for Interior Design Accreditation (more on accreditation later). Online colleges may also earn accreditation from the Distance Education and Training Council, which focuses on distance or online learning. If you have the discipline to earn your degree without the structure of a physical classroom environment, then an online interior design program may be the perfect alternative for you.

Topics to Ask Interior Designer Schools

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After you have selected the interior designer degree that you want to earn, you can start the process of reviewing your school options. Location will be a critical factor, particularly if the school needs to be within commuting distance from your Cave Creek AZ home. Naturally if you are interested in attending an online school, or are able to move to attend classes, then location might not be a qualification. The expense for tuition will decrease your choices also. But selecting the most affordable college or the one that is nearest to your residence are not the best ways to make your decision. There are other variables that you should consider also, including the reputation and accreditation of the college. Following are a few concerns that you may want to ask the colleges you are considering to obtain those answers in addition to others in order to help you assess and ultimately select the ideal degree program.

Is the Interior Designer School Accredited? It's important to verify that the interior designer school and program that you select has earned accreditation from either a national or regional organization. One of the most highly regarded in the field is the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Schools receiving accreditation from the NASAD have gone through a rigorous evaluation of their programs and teachers. Just make sure that both the college and the degree program have been accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Not only will it help verify that the reputation of the college and the quality of the education are exceptional, it might also help when securing financial assistance or a student loan. Often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges. Also, many Cave Creek AZ employers will only hire graduates of accredited programs for entry level jobs.

Does the Program Prep you for Licensing? As we mentioned earlier, a number of States do require that interior designers become licensed. This would require a passing score on the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) examination in addition to a degree from an accredited program. And in some of those States calling for licensing, 2 or more years of occupational experience may be required also. Therefore besides providing an exceptional education, the Cave Creek AZ school you enroll in should also provide the proper instruction to pass the NCIDQ examination and comply with the minimum requirements for licensing for Arizona or the State where you will be employed.

What is the School's Job Placement Rate? After you have graduated and received your interior designer certification, you will undoubtedly need some support in finding your first job. Ask the schools that you are considering if they have a job placement program. If so, ask what their job placement rates are. A high rate is an excellent sign that the college and its programs are held in high regard within the interior design field and its students are in demand. It may also indicate that the school has a significant network of Cave Creek AZ business contacts where they can place students to obtain internships or jobs after graduation.

Is Financial Assistance Available? Contact the financial aid departments for the Cave Creek AZ colleges you are looking at and ask what type of aid they offer. Many of interior design colleges provide financial assistance to their incoming students. Some schools offer partial scholarships while others provide assistance in obtaining grants or federal student loans. Again it must be stressed that choosing an accredited college is imperative for qualification in most cases. Often a school that has a higher tuition may effectively be less expensive than its competitors because they offer more generous financial assistance.

How Big are the Classes? Smaller classes are more personal and conducive to one on one instruction. If classes are large, you may receive minimal individual attention from the teachers. Find out from the Cave Creek AZ schools you are looking at what their typical student to teacher ratios are. If practical from your Cave Creek home, go to the campus and attend a couple of classes. While there talk with a few students and ask what their experiences have been. Ask the instructors what their teaching philosophies are and what their backgrounds are in interior design.

Are Classes Available that Accommodate your Schedule? Last, make certain that the interior design program you enroll in offers classes the fit your busy schedule. This is especially significant if you plan to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Cave Creek AZ, confirm that those classes are offered. If you have a full-time job and can only attend part-time, verify that is an alternative also. Finally, find out what the process is for making up classes missed because of work, sickness or family obligations.

Find Out More About Online Interior Design Schools

Choose in the Best Cave Creek Interior Design School

Choosing the ideal interior design college is an important initial step toward launching your career in this creative and gratifying occupation. Locating a college where you will obtain your education and cultivate your talents in a specific area of study is a daunting task regardless of what major you have selected. As with any undertaking to acquire an advanced education, there are several points to think about before selecting a course, program or school. At a minimum, make sure that the design college and program are both accredited and highly regarded in the business. But it is still important that you carry out your due diligence analysis. By doing so and following the rest of the suggestions presented in this article, you will be able to effectively assess and compare interior design colleges so that you can make the appropriate final selection. And with quality training and your drive to succeed, you can reach your goal of becoming an interior designer in Cave Creek Arizona.